Texas A&M University at Qatar took first place in a top-five table for research impact drawn up by Times Higher Education, while Qatar University was fourth.
Lebanon holds two of the top five places, with the Lebanese American University in second and the American University of Beirut coming fifth. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University took third position.
The ranking was formulated using Elsevier’s Scopus database to highlight some of the region’s top performers ahead of THE’s inaugural MENA Universities Summit, which is being held in Qatar on 23 and 24 February 2015.
The event will include consultation on proposals for a full THE ranking for the region, which would combine the research impact indicator with a wider range of performance metrics.
THE’s official Mena rankings, which are expected to be published for the first time next year, would be based on the foundations of the flagship World University Rankings but would feature a bespoke range of metrics reflecting different regional priorities and university missions – such as a greater focus on teaching and learning, or graduate employment.
Phil Baty, the editor of the THE World University Rankings, said that the Middle East and North Africa had a higher education sector with “huge challenges but also huge opportunities”.
“With some countries in the region becoming exciting global hubs for international students and making a serious investment in building research infrastructure, and with mounting evidence of serious pockets of research excellence emerging in key fields in the region, there is room for optimism that we are witnessing an exciting knowledge-fuelled revival for the region,” Mr Baty said.
The top-five snapshot was calculated using the ratio of the citations received by an institution’s publication output between 2009 and 2013 and the total citations that would be expected based on the average of the subject field.
THE’s Mena summit, which is being held in partnership with Qatar University, will also include sessions on university leadership, international research collaboration and teaching excellence.
Speakers will include Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London, Jean Lou Chameau, president of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Alfred Bloom, vice-chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi.